Arrogance on the part of the meritorious is even more offensive to us than the arrogance of those without merit: for merit itself is offensive. — Nietzsche

Story of the English - Helene Guerber




Persecution of the Jews

The news that Henry III. was ill took some time to reach Prince Edward, who thereupon made immediate arrangements to return home with his beloved wife, Eleanor. But when they reached Sicily they met another messenger, who told them that their haste was unnecessary, as Henry had already breathed his last.

Hearing these tidings, Edward paused to rest awhile in Sicily; then, crossing over to France, he often stopped in the course of his journey to be entertained by the French noblemen. Wherever he went he was feasted and made much of, because the people knew he had fought like a true knight in Palestine.

When Edward came to Burgundy, he gladly accepted an invitation to take part in a tournament, or sham fight, in which he and a thousand of his knights were to test their skill against the Count of Chalons and an equal number of Burgundian knights. But when Edward came to the appointed place, he found that instead of a sham fight he and his followers would have to do battle if they would escape from the hands of the traitor. Dashing forward with his well-known courage, Edward called to his men to follow him, and, making good use of his great strength, he won a brilliant victory. This conflict is known in history as the Little Battle of Chalons.

Two years after Henry's death, for travelling was very slow in those days, Edward arrived in England, where he was received with loud cries of joy. At his coronation, which soon took place, the houses of London were hung with tapestry, the streets strewn with flowers, the fountains flowed with wine instead of water, oxen and sheep were roasted whole, and shows of all kinds and illuminations were given in his honour.

King Edward at once began to restore law and order in his kingdom. Hearing that some of the barons had taken unlawful possession of the land of their neighbours, he said that all those who could not show deeds for their estates should give them up. But when Edward asked one earl what instrument he could show to prove his claim to the land his family had occupied for many years, the nobleman proudly drew his sword and said: "This is the instrument by which my ancestors gained their estate, and by which I will keep it." This haughty answer showed Edward that it would be impossible to turn out the men who had held their estates a long time, so he changed the law.

Another thing that Edward did was to punish the people who had grown rich by "clipping the coin," or cutting off a little of the metal around each piece of gold or silver money. The money was also changed, and Edward said that pennies should no longer be cut into halves and quarters for halfpence and farthings, but that all coins, however small, should be round.

The Jews were very numerous in England in the beginning of Edward's reign. They did nearly all the trading and money-lending, and were very uncharitably hated by the Christians, who accused them of clipping the coin. Edward, who had been a crusader, fancied it was his duty to persecute all Jews; so, after ill-treating them for thirteen years, he suddenly bade them leave England, allowing them to take only their gold and jewels with them.

Sixteen thousand Jews were thus unjustly driven out of the kingdom. In their stead the Lombards began to trade and lend money, and one of the important streets in London is still known by their name, because so many of them used to dwell there.



Contents

Front Matter
Review

Early Times
The Druids
The Britons
Caesar in Britain
Queen Boadicea
The Great Walls
The Great Irish Saint
The Anglo-Saxons
Brave King Arthur
The Laws of the Saxons
The Story of St Augustine
Three Great Men
The Danish Pirates
King Alfred and the Cakes
Alfred conquers the Danes
A King's Narrow Escape
The King and the Outlaw
The Monasteries
An Unlucky Couple
St Dunstan
King Canute and the Waves
A Saxon Nobleman
Lady Godiva's Ride
The Battle of Hastings
The Conquest
Lords and Vassals
Death of William
The Brothers' Quarrels
Arms and Armour
The "White Ship"
Matilda's Narrow Escapes
Story of Fair Rosamond
Thomas a Becket
Murder of Thomas a Becket
Richard's Adventures
Richard and the Saracens
The Faithful Minstrel
Death of Richard
The Murder of Arthur
The Great Charter
The Rule of Henry III
A Race
Persecution of the Jews
The Conquest of Wales
A Quarrel with France
The Coronation Stone
The Insolent Favourite
Bruce and the Spider
Death of Edward II
The Murderers punished
The Battle of Crecy
The Siege of Calais
The Age of Chivalry
The Battle of Poitiers
The Peasants' Revolt
Richard's Presence of Mind
A Tiny Queen
Henry's Troubles
Madcap Harry
A Glorious Reign
The Maid of Orleans
The War of the Roses
The Queen and the Brigand
The Triumph of the Yorks
The Princes in the Tower
Richard's Punishment
Two Pretenders
A Grasping King
Field of the Cloth of Gold
The New Opinions
Death of Wolsey
Henry's Wives
The King and the Painter
A Boy King
Lady Jane Grey
The Death of Cranmer
A Clever Queen
Elizabeth's Lovers
Mary, Queen of Scots
Captivity of Mary Stuart
Wreck of the Spanish Armada
The Elizabethan Age
Death of Elizabeth
A Scotch King
The Gunpowder Plot
Sir Walter Raleigh
King and Parliament
Cavaliers and Roundheads
"Remember"
The Royal Oak
The Commonwealth
The Restoration
Plague and Fire
The Merry Monarch
James driven out of England
A Terrible Massacre
William's Wars
The Duke of Marlborough
The Taking of Gibraltar
The South Sea Bubble
Bonny Prince Charlie
Black Hole of Calcutta
Loss of the Colonies
The Battle of the Nile
Nelson's Last Signal
The Battle of Waterloo
First Gentleman of Europe
Childhood of Queen Victoria
The Queen's Marriage
Wars in Victoria's Reign
The Jubilee